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A Case Study Of Public Library-Community Engagement in Dublin City Public Libraries

Konstantin Ermolin, Charlotte Fabian, Faye Kearns, Gary Keenan,Betty Maguire

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Transcript of A Case Study Of Public Library-Community Engagement in Dublin City Public Libraries

Objectives Introduction Attitudes towards the library Literature review Methodology Contextual Analysis What we found ... Strategies
Community Engagement Why research this topic? Methodology Participants Project stakeholders
Branch managers
Front-line library staff
Community stakeholders Dublin City Public Libraries
Dublin City Council
Library Association of Ireland
Public Library Section of LAI
Role of the library
Stakeholder interest
Gap in literature Forms of Community Engagement Programming
for the community o Development Unit programmes
o Response to community needs
o Input from community members
o Staff initiatives Providing
a community space o Facilities for community members and
o Computer provision and internet access
o Facilities for people with disabilities
o Providing a nice, bright space with
comfortable seating and a warm
and welcoming atmosphere Forming
partnerships o Schools and crèches
o Community organisations
o Government agencies
o DCC departments
o Local Area Partnerships Going into
the community o Visits to crèches and schools
o Taking part in local festivals and
o Sitting on partnership committees
o Membership drive in the locality
using the mobile library van Knowing
the community o Community profiling
o Observing
o Communicating Involving staff o Knowledge of the
o Connections with the
o Input in activities
o Delivery of programmes Library Paths to Programming Development
Unit Partners Community How they benefit .... "... children with special needs who have this huge reluctance of picking up a book and reading it ... All of a sudden they are in this place where there are loads and loads of books and they think, 'There are books that I can read'..."
(School Teacher) User
outcomes Awareness of service Attitudes Confidence Sense of community Skills Partner
outcomes Access to free events
and resources Promotion of their own
organisation/group Attainment of shared goals "In general the projects that we have would be people approaching us because we have a lot of space here, or they may have heard from somebody else about something that we’ve done and also a lot of people use us because ... we would be able to provide money to buy stock and things."
(Library staff) Library Outcomes from... Activities Partnerships o Change in user
perception of library
o Motivates staff and
gives them
job satisfaction o Potential of networking
and making new
o Increase in knowledge
about the community
o Additional marketing
avenue o Increase in library users
o Reaching new audiences
o Increase in awareness of
library services Both How Do They Know? • Output based-evaluation
• Through
o User Comment Forms
o Staff Event Evaluation Forms
• Various other methods, depending on
branch and activity What Hinders Community Engagement? • Cutbacks in funding and staff
• Lack of enthusiasm by staff Implications Limitations Not talking to users directly
Potential bias through snowball sampling Recommendations
Systematize outcome-based evaluation
Develop marketing strategies
Devise community engagement practice
Staff training
Discussion forum Reflections on Group Process Qualitative study
Case study approach
Supporting documents
Thematical analysis Evaluation “Quantitative methods produce outputs, typically in the form of statistics which can be transferred easily into attractive tables and graphs.” (Rooney-Browne, 2011)
“Output measures do not reveal the real differences that the library makes in the lives of citizens” (Durrance & Fisher, 2005)
so… Outputs Outcomes Outcome-based methodologies can help to measure the social value of public libraries.
Outcome-based evaluations answer the questions:

Why? What? How? What impact?

(Durrance & Fisher, 2005; Lance et al, 2001; MLA, 2011) To identify forms and practices of community engagement in Dublin City Public Libraries (DCPL)
To describe the outcomes of community engagement from the perspectives of library staff and stakeholders
To recommend ways in which DCPL can support, enhance, and publicise the engagement of its branches with their communities Irish research projects Challenges...
Framing and designing the study

What worked well ...
Sharing of tasks and knowledge Dublin City Council Culture, Recreation &
Amenity Department Dublin City Public
Libraries 21 branches Use of library's facilities A case study of
public library-community engagement in Dublin City Public Libraries Konstantin Ermolin
Charlotte Fabian
Faye Kearns
Gary Keenan
Betty Maguire Community engagement - a way forward? “I know how it feels for the parents to be scared
to even get on that library bus and there are these books and they are so intimidating to them …”
(Partner) Conclusion Community engagement – a way forward?
Future Work
A user impact study
A study of city-wide implemented programmes What is community engagement? “... engaging with a community through brochures, newsletters, librarian office hours, chat reference, etc.” (Courtney, 2009) Public library partnerships Collaborations with civic and community agencies, government agencies and business partners (Bourke, 2007; Kranich, 2005; Schull, 2004)
Range from weak links to more structured and formal arrangements (Bourke, 2007; Meath County Council Library Service, 2011)
Weak partnerships are less sustainable (Bourke, 2007)
Mutual benefits for all parties involved (Bourke, 2007; Meath County Council Library Service, 2011) Corporate Plan Objectives Business Plan Business Plans or

"... engaging with the general public and with other service providers, community groups and local organisations to devise and plan the best and most appropriate public library provision for a given community.” (Meath County Council Library Service, 2011)

or ...? Agenda Inefficient marketing strategies Importance of topic
Aims and objectives
Literature review
Forms and strategies
Recommendations Two Irish studies:
Meath County Council Library Service. (2011). Reaching out: the public library serving the community.
Purcell, S. & Hudson, T. (2011). Raising the profile: The community engaged library in the US and Ireland.

Advanced status in US and UK
Some shared practices
Less evidence in Ireland Case Study 4-6
Community partners 4-6
Frontline staff Snowball Methodology Semi-structured Interviews Manager 3 Manager 2 Manager 1 Library Reports Library Reports Library Reports Contextual Analysis: Reviewing Documents Library 3 Library 2 Library 1 Purposive Sampling: Intensive Cases (Patton, 2006) 4-6
Frontline staff 4-6
Frontline staff 4-6
Community partners 4-6
Community partners Thank you No clear concept of community engagement What is the role of the library? Changes in user perception of the library Outreach is the most effective strategy Community engagement serves the library agenda Thematical Analysis
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